May 1, 2009

Pata Negra: Now I know what all the jamón fuss is about

Perhaps this isn't the best time to be writing about pork since there's swine pandemic panic in the air.. but there's currently no link between eating pork and developing swine flu so I'm going to indulge in a little love-on for the Spanish piggy.
Now, I've eaten Jamón Serrano on many occasions and while it's tasty enough, it's nothing I'd salivate over, not like my students do. A lot Spanish people I know gush and roll their eyes back into their heads in bliss at any talk of jamón but I've never really understood this passion for cured ham.. at least not until I met and tasted the grade A of jamón, a king among hams, the Pata Negra. These black hoofed pigs roam in pasture and oak groves, feeding on grass, herbs, acorns, and roots, until slaughtering time. A short time before going under the knife, their diet is strictly limited to acorns to produce the best quality jamón ibérico.

We were at a birthday party last weekend and the friends of the birthday couple gave them a jamón pata negra direct from a village in Badajoz. Thin slices of this jamón melts in your mouth with a buttery flavor. Because pata negra pigs are slowly fattened and roam freely, the fat permeates their flesh and this marbled fat enhances the buttery acorn flavor of the meat. !delicioso! Now I know what the all fuss is about!

Slicing the jamón is an art because the slices must be as thin as possible:

All these photos were taken by me at a party in Madrid last weekend.

Although this is completely unrelated to my post, Happy Labour day! I hope you enjoy the day off labouring. 


Related Posts with Thumbnails